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True crime. Casually done.

The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist

A Close Call 

In July 2012, inventory inspector Michel Gauvreau entered a nondescript warehouse in the small Quebec town of St Louis de Blandford  — a sterile, industrial cavern filled with 16,000 white, metal barrels. Each of them had a volume of 54 gallons, and a value somewhere around the $1500-2000 USD mark.

So what was in these pricey barrels? Oil? Some rare whiskey? Actual liquefied gold? No, no, no — better than any of that. This warehouse was actually packed full of $30,000,000 of primo pancake dressing — authentic Québécois maple syrup. Monsieur Gauvreau belonged to the trade organization tasked with managing the incredibly profitable syrup industry in Quebec, which was about to experience a pretty stark supply shock that afternoon.

The inspector began his count by climbing up on top of the tiered stacks of barrels — like scaling one of the stepped sides of a Great Pyramid. At its highest point, the barrels stretched up nearly 20 feet high. Each weighed about 600-pounds, making it safe enough to clamber around on top of them. But as the inspector neared the summit, and reached out for the next handhold, the barrel teetered. It gave out under his weight,andthe inspector  almost fell backwards, crashing down to terra firma.

He managed to grasp on to another barrel just in time. After his life stopped flashing before his eyes, Gauvreau gave the suspiciously light barrel a slap — a hollow sound rang out from inside. He opened the cap to investigate. A familiar sickly-sweet aroma rose up into the air, but inside, the barrel was completely empty. Gauvreau thought it must have been a mistake — someone had clearly loaded an unfilled barrel onto the forklift without realizing.

But then a thought crossed his mind… He kicked out his leg at another barrel, and it rang with the same hollow, metallic chime as the first. So did the next. So did the next. Not only that, upon closer inspection, several of the barrels which he had just climbed up using had a ring of brown rust around the cap. 

That’s when Gauvreau realized this probably wasn’t some honest mistake.And he was right. In fact, the warehouse had been the target of an elaborate theft, claiming a huge amount of the multi-million dollar hoard of syrup. After the damage was tallied, the crime would be dubbed the most expensive theft in the country’s history.

And of course, the most thoroughly, painfully, blatantly Canadian crime ever committed…

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The Idea

In 2011, a bumper harvest meant that Quebec was awash in sticky, sweet, liquid gold. The huge surplus of maple syrup that year meant that the region had more on its hands than it could hope to sell, and the existing warehouses were already filled to the brim. 

Grades of Vermont maple syrup.
Grades of Vermont maple syrup. From left to right, Vermont Fancy, light amber color, delicate maple bouquet; Grade A Medium Amber, medium amber color, pronounced maple bouquet; Grade A Dark Amber, dark amber color, robust maple bouquet; Grade B, darkest color, strong maple bouquet. By Dvortygirl, is licensed under CC-BY-SA

Since the 1960s, these stocks had been managed by a regional governing body, known as the Grand Council of Maple Whisperers. (Actually, the proper name is the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, but I think my one sounds better.)

It was their name on the lease when they rented out a new warehouse in the town of St Louis de Blandford — about 30 minutes away from the main storehouse in Laurierville — to store the overflow that year. This little town of 1000 happened to be the home of a man named Avik Caron, who sensed an opportunity when the sugar trucks came to town.

And it also just so happened, that his wife owned a part share in that warehouse which the Federation had just moved those 16,000 barrels into. It can be hard to resist temptation, when you’ve got the keys to a multi-million dollar hoard just sitting on your kitchen table every evening. So Avik started casually dropping questions like: 

“Hi babe, how was your day? By the way, any idea how many security cameras your warehouse has?” 

Zero was the answer: zero cameras, zero alarms, and minimal security. The Federation had been in such a rush to find somewhere to store their goods, that they were apparently willing to scrimp on security. Or maybe they just thought nobody would be mental enough to steal any substantial amount of a goddamn breakfast condiment. 

People stole cash, people stole drugs, people stole gold.

What kind of criminal mastermind steals food?

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The Baddies

It does seem like an extremely strange target for theft; why in the hell is this stuff so expensive that it’s even worth the attention of would-be thieves like Caron in the first place? That all comes down to the incredibly low-tech way in which authentic maple syrup is produced, and the lofty reputation it has around the world.

Producers often own thousands of sugar maple trees in their so-called “sugar bushes”, where much of the harvesting is still done by hand. When the time is right, the sugarmaker will say the traditional thanks to the maple faeries, chant the secret syrup prayer known to Canadians and Canadians alone, and bow to the forest 18 times in each direction.

After the ritual is complete, they go tree to tree, drilling into them to release the sugary sap from within. In their so-called ‘sugar shacks’, they then boil it down into the highly-concentrated syrup. It’s that labor-intensive process and variable yield that makes one bottle of the good stuff so damn expensive — even more-so than crude oil. In 2016, that sticky Canadian commodity was worth 26 times more than the black gold favored by Texans and Saudis alike. 

And a stunning 94% of Canadian maple syrup comes from the province of Quebec (that’s 77% of global supply). Back in the old days, that supply would fluctuate wildly with the weather year on year along with price, making it tough for producers to make a stable living. That’s why the Federation came into being.

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Every heist movie needs a good villain. It makes the audience feel a lot better if the heroes are stealing from a corrupt casino magnate, rather than rummaging under a terrified pensioner’s mattress (unless of course it’s an evil pensioner). So luckily for your conscience, our story today has a nice inhuman, corporate villain to jeer at.

1966 saw the formation of Quebec’s syrup industry governing body, the aforementioned Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. Actually, the official name is La Fédération des Producteurs Acéricoles du Québec — because they speak some made-up nonsense language in that part of Canada. Elven or something. 

The FPAQ were instrumental in pushing the interests of Big Maple worldwide; it’s largely down to them that you’ll find Quebec’s syrup on shelves around the world. Their marketing campaigns are specifically designed to push the region’s pride and joy as part of an ancient tradition: authentic, good, natural not like that disgusting sugar slop peddled by the contemptible bootlegger, Aunt Jemima.

And yes, the people of Quebec are genuinely that snobby about syrup. Ostensibly, the Federation’s primary purpose is to manage the production and supply of maple syrup to maintain a healthy income for its members. But in reality, they’ve been compared to an iron-fisted cartel, who artificially fix prices and punish dissenters viciously.

Every one of the province’s 13,500 producers has to answer to the Federation, sending their harvests to them for grading, sale, and stockpiling. From each barrel, the organization takes its $54 cut. And the tiny amount that the sugar makers are allowed to sell direct to retail is also heavily cut into by the FPAQ.

Anything over their yearly quota is stored in warehouses, like the one in which Monsieur Gauvreau almost plummeted to his death (or to a minor injury, at least). Producers can often wait years to see the profits from this stockpile — known as the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve — as it’s stored away for low-yield years.

That keeps up a sense of false scarcity, despite the fact they’re always sitting on a massive hoard — a similar business tactic to the dragon Smaug. It also means that producers in Quebec can’t cash in during spikes in demand. And you should be seething with anger right about now, because this dodgy dealing makes your breakfast more expensive. Yes! There’s a dark conspiracy to inflate the price of pancakes, and I’m mad as hell.

Clearly the province of Quebec is under the control of an evil, power-mad sugar empire. Which would then make our sweet-toothed thieves La Résistance

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The Crew

You’ve already met the first of the thieves: Avik Caron — The Insider. When it came time for him to assemble his team for the heist of the century, he wasn’t short of sympathizers. Plenty of people in the industry would have jumped at the chance to rip off the federation after years of stifling quotas, and dropping competitiveness in the region.

By 2011, there was already a thriving black market in Quebec, through which sugarmakers sold their syrup beneath the radar of the Federation. If any got caught, they faced ridiculously hefty fines which were charged for each pound sold “illegally” (which makes it sound like they’re shifting it by the gram in dodgy car parks).

But the process wasn’t quite as shady as that. Sometimes they would just sell straight to distributors, but these sales were easily detected by the lawyers at the FPAQ. Those who were really determined to stick it to the bureaucrats had to get a little more stealthy. 

Usually these renegade producers would just roll their barrels onto unmarked trucks in the dead of night, and drive them from their rural sugar bushes to brokers. These illicit middle-men could obscure the origin of the goods, and sell them on to retailers who were often none the wiser. All so that the addicts of Canada could shoot up that thick, sickly syrup into their veins.

This was the occupation of the second of our thieves: Richard Vallières — The Roller. In the Quebec syrup underworld, a ‘barrel roller’ is the name for these middle men, who broker under-the-table deals between rogue sellers and buyers. Caron needed an experienced partner if he was going to pull off the job, and Vallières was a veteran; he was known as the best of the best among barrel rollers, and had been involved in the illicit trade for about 10 years. 

Within that time, things had gotten much harder for the Han-Solo-esque sugar smugglers of Quebec. There was far too much money on the line for the Federation to let the black market go unchallenged. They responded with the formation of a maple syrup gestapo, sending guards to lie in wait outside sugarmakers’ properties. Their inspectors launched raids on suspected black market producers, seized business ledgers, checked bank accounts, and organized stings to catch brokers in the act. 

The resulting fines have seen people like Angèle Grenier (de-facto rebel leader due to her long court battle) lose everything — she had her entire stock confiscated, and was fined 500,000 CanadaBucks for disobeying the Federation (the equivalent of about 400,000 real bucks). The evil empire had rigged the rules of the game, and were ruining lives and livelihoods as a result. 

That’s why they were so detested by our third thief: Étienne St-Pierre — The Fence. A bulk exporter by day, he was also another ‘barrel roller’ who had long opposed the Federation, supporting the illicit sellers from Quebec by getting their product out of the province. The two ringleaders of the crime made contact with him, knowing that — being based out of New Brunswick province to the east — he had the right connections to shift large quantities of syrup out of the province and into the hands of retail. 

To do that, they needed the assistance of Étienne’s employee, and our fourth crew member: Sébastien Jutras — The Driver. A trucker by trade, he would be the one to move the goods away from the warehouse, and assist in transporting them far from the province, and away from the influence of the Federation. It was actually Jutras who introduced the two ringleaders to each other. 

There’s just one more member of the core team to introduce in this little montage: Raymond Vallières — The… Dad? I don’t really have a cool nickname for Raymond, because he’s just the father of Richard Vallières, and only really offered up his own ‘sugar shack’ as a processing facility (being a sugarmaker himself). Just so he doesn’t feel left out, we’ll call him… The Sugar Daddy.

That completes the five-man core team behind the heist. An unlikely bunch of candidates for ‘Most Expensive Heist in Canadian History’, and in the beginning they never had their sights set even nearly that high. But as things started to go well for our crooks, they racked up a fantastic amount of riches from what was essentially a very simple plan.

And they managed to do it without firing a single bullet, taking a single hostage, or hurting a single fly…

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The Heist 

So now we get down to the nitty gritty: how does one go about moving full barrels of contraband without getting caught? Well, not all heists are all ‘shotguns and car chases’. Even if you were to bust into the warehouse in a balaclava and blasting at the guards, you’re gonna struggle to carry more than a few bottles’ worth of the goods away before the cops come. 

What they actually did was a lot smarter, and a lot more low-key, than that. The gang started by renting out some space in the same warehouse, which meant they had valid access badges and keycards. This meant that the few security guards on site would think nothing of it when Caron, Vallières and Jutras arrived in the middle of the night in late 2011. 

Some time between midnight and sunrise, they accessed the warehouse, and walked straight past their own little storage space towards the section reserved for the 16,000 barrels held by the Federation. They went completely unseen and unchallenged as they toppled several of the heavy barrels onto their sides, and rolled them out to the landing area where an unnamed lookout waited alongside Jutras’ truck.

If there had been security cameras fixed at the warehouse, they would’ve shown something quite peculiar happening that evening. It appeared as if the thieves might have suffered a pang of regret, because a short while after taking off with the goods, they brought them straight back again; they even rolled them right back to the spot he got them from.

But what wasn’t clear to the naked eye was that these barrels had now lost about 99.999% of their value. Cut to a short while before, at Raymond Vallières’ remote ‘sugar shack’ HQ a short ways away from the warehouse. When the barrels rolled up, the younger Vallières’ led the others in siphoning the contents out of the FPAQ’s white barrels into their own (markedly less sterile) ones. 

Whenever new barrels were originally put into storage, the Federation were always diligent in checking and grading the syrup. However, the men knew that the subsequent inventory checks only focussed on the weight of the barrels, not the contents. Anyone who ever drank their parents’ vodka then topped it back up from the kitchen sink will know how to exploit that little loophole. 

Once the liquid gold was drained, they refilled the barrels with water from a pond on the property. That’s all that was in them as Caron shuffled them into place back at the warehouse: muddy pond water, which isn’t half as nice on top of French toast (trust me). They got everything back to normal, still with plenty of time to spare before morning. Even if any Federation employees arrived that morning, the place would look exactly the same, and the barrels would appear completely undisturbed. 

Genius. 

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The next step was to actually shift the cargo out of Quebec without drawing any attention from law enforcement. To do that, Étienne St-Pierre simply rebranded the barrels to make it appear as if the syrup came from New Brunswick Province (which has far less strict regulations surrounding syrup production). They kept the quantities low in order to avoid attention. Bear in mind, each of the barrels was many times more valuable than the same quantity of crude oil. 

That little bit of syrup-laundering meant that they could shift the cargo to clean distributors in other provinces who had no idea it was stolen. You’re probably wondering how many barrels we’re talking about here — how many barrels of syrup can one fit in a single truck?

The answer is ‘probably not enough to qualify as theft of the century’, which is why this heist never only happened in just one night. In fact, the thieves kept going back time and time again over the following months to score more syrup. According to statements made in court, everything was going smoothly, until one night they were caught red-handed by a security guard. 

The guard came across the men lifting barrels down from the stacks with a forklift, and they stopped in their tracks. They flashed their access passes, but that wasn’t enough — they had to explain why the hell they were messing with another company’s property. Of course, they didn’t have a good answer.

So the guard reported the ongoing theft to his supervisor. But see, the thing about small-town security guards is that they’re often quite badly underpaid. The guard’s supervisor slipped him a bit of cash to stay quiet, since he was already on the crooks’ payroll (probably brought on board after a rousing speech about “libération” from oppressive syrup cartels). 

He was just one of many new players who had allegedly become wrapped up in the plot, helping to steal, process, and transport the syrup. Things continued on without a hitch for the better part of an entire year. That is a hell of a lot of syrup, and a hell of a lot of cash. Unable to put it in the bank or blow it on speedboats, the men had piles of cash hidden around their homes in shoeboxes. 

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How long could this whole charade last though? The syrup thieves must have known that they were building a house of cards that would inevitably collapse one day, when the theft was inevitably discovered. How long until some bottling plant off in Montreal or abroad taps their barrel to find nothing but slightly sweetened pond water inside?

But when you’re stacking shoe boxes of cash in your wardrobes, that reality seems like a distant concern — after all, these reserves often sit for years upon years, waiting for a shortfall in production. By the time they entered circulation, the men could be off lounging on a beach somewhere far away from the chilly forests of Canada. 

The more immediate concern was the inspectors. It would have been a nervous day for the thieves the first time they watched the FPAQ lackey pull up outside the facility to check on the goods. What if they had slipped up somewhere? What if a barrel was damaged without explanation, or the inspector decided to crack one open on a whim?

But for some reason that day just… never came. As it turned out, the Federation only audited their stock once a year, so the thieves essentially had free run of the place until then. All that extra work in returning a repositioning the barrels, and it wasn’t even that urgent after all. Suddenly it started to feel like a lot of unnecessary precaution.. 

By this point they knew they could actually afford to keep the barrels away for far longer without anyone noticing, so when the pond at the original HQ froze over, they moved production to an industrial unit in Montreal. Eventually they decided they could drain a lot more barrels a lot faster if they just siphoned the syrup out of them at the warehouse itself.

Now, as you all know, the two golden rules of heists (whether long or short) are “don’t get sloppy” and “don’t get greedy” — and certainly don’t get both. But that’s exactly what happened to our team of thieves. To hear them tell it, the more accomplices they introduced to the con, the lazier the whole operation became. 

Some short-sighted individuals decided that refilling the barrels with water was pointless, and started returning them to the stacks empty. What were the odds that an inspector would touch that specific barrel, after all?

You already know how that turned out…

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The Bust

We began the episode with the story of Michel Gauvreau in July 2012, who climbed up a stack of barrels in the warehouse and almost tumbled to the floor, when one started tipping under his weight. After that grand revelation, he then went about inspecting more of them, finding time and time again that they were empty, or showed signs of wear and rusting — unusual for containers of liquid sugar that should never have left the dry, squeaky-clean warehouse.

He opened one of these damaged barrels up to find only water inside, and immediately reported the missing stock to his superiors. The gang would have known that their little golden era was over, when Caron’s wife received a phone call from the warehouse — there were cop cars crawling all over the place. 

The police arrived at the same time as the Federation’s own investigators, there to conduct an emergency audit and tally the damage done. The rest of that week was spent arduously checking every single barre in the place. Their jaws dropped progressively lower and lower, as more and more barrels were revealed to be empty or water-filled.

Entire stacks of tampered barrels stretching up to the roof; entire sections of the warehouse filled with nothing but gallons upon gallons of H2O. All in all, a ridiculous 10,000 barrels of syrup were missing! That’s 540,000 gallons (a stunning 12.5% of the entire Federation reserve).

To put that in perspective, 540,000 gallons of syrup is the same volume as 540,000 gallon jugs of whisky, or 540,000 gallon jugs of milk… Actually that… doesn’t really give any new information. 

Let me check my notes… 

How about this: if you put all of that syrup into Coke cans and stacked them on top of each other, they’d stretch up 755km high. Is that more useless information? Absolutely. 

So let me move on to the good stuff: the value of all that liquid gold. At the time, it would have sold for around 18 million CanadaBucks, which exchanged for almost the same in USD back in 2012. No matter how ridiculous the theft of a foodstuff may sound on paper, $18 million is no joke. 

Little wonder that the press gave the crime its own catchy nickname: Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist (or Vol de Sirop d’érable du Siècle, if you want to get all fancy). And when that much money and media attention is involved, you can bet that the authorities will come out with a real show of force, putting our plucky thieves on the receiving end of one of the biggest investigations the province had ever seen.

The might of the Federation and law enforcement was about to come down full force…

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The resulting investigation was headed up by the Sûreté du Québec police, with the help of the US Customs department, and the good old Canadian Mounties. From the outset, it was clear that this must have been some kind of inside job, so they started looking at the other tenants of the building to see who would have had consistent access to the reserves long enough to steal 6.2 million Coke cans-worth. 

The cops started a dragnet campaign of questioning, bringing in almost 300 people for interviews. This included everyone associated with the warehouse — tenants, employees, owners — as well as known figures in the syrup black market. And within the network of people who the thieves had implicated in their dealings over the past year, there were more than a few weak links.

The information from these interviews were used to obtain a total of 40 search warrants for the homes and vehicles of all involved: Caron, Vallières, Jutras, Vallières Sr; even Étienne St-Pierre’s warehouse in New Brunswick was raided. And during those searches the officers recovered some damning evidence.

Those shoeboxes full of cash looked very incriminating indeed, as were the burner phones which the masterminds had been using to orchestrate the syndicate’s activities. And on the properties of Vallières Sr and St Etien, were piles of the stolen maple syrup, yet to be sold off into circulation.

The noose was well and truly tied for our team of crooks, and it grew tighter around their necks as autumn came and went and the evidence mounted up. Eventually, in December 2012, Caron, Vallières and Vallières Sr were all arrested. The other two, along with multiple accomplices, soon followed. 

Greed, clumsiness, and a sheer lack of foresight had brought a perfect plan crumbling down. So our heroes found themselves heading to a courtroom, rather than a tropical island, when the trials began in 2017.

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The Trials

So what do you do when you’re caught with your hands smeared with illicit maple syrup, and facing the wrath of big business with nowhere to turn to? Well, you lie of course. You lie your heart out. If you’re Richard Vallières — The Roller you tell the court that you wanted no part of the plan in the first place.

You plead not guilty, and weave a wild tale about how instigator Avik Caron refused to let you back out of the scheme, forcing you into working for him with a gun to your head. You say that you feared for your family’s safety, and only stole the syrup to quell this syrup-tweaking maniac’s insatiable thirst for good stuff. It does not go well.

You end up being convicted for theft, fraud, and trafficking, and whacked with an absolutely mammoth fine of $606,501 (CAD)… but since the court rules that the the goods can’t be recovered, and you actively admitted to making a cool 10 million dollars off the crime, they raise that fine to an incredible $9.4 million. That’s more than most people could earn in five lifetimes or more. 

You’ll have to work a lot of hours in the prison laundry to scrape that together. But thankfully you’ll have plenty of time, because accompanying that fine is an 8-year prison sentence, to be upgraded to 14 years if you don’t pay your dues. Of all the people involved in the heist, poor Richard got the brunt of it, being the one with the knowledge and skills to actually make it happen.

Sure, his fine was eventually reduced to closer $1 million after being run through the court of appeals, but the Quebec prosecutors recently got the go-ahead to take it all the way to the supreme court. If he’s unlucky, Mr Vallières will be saddled with the full amount again by the time he walks free…

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As for the others, they got off comparatively lightly when you consider the barrel roller’s fate. Avik Caron — The Insider was the last to be tried, and seeing the way his old accomplice was run over by that legal freight train, he apparently got the message. At first he tried to paint a picture of diminished responsibility, claiming to the cops that the Montreal Mafia were eventually  involved, providing equipment and drivers. If those guys really did get on board, then it would have been tough for Caron to call time on the thefts. 

However, he eventually decided to take the easy route and (rather than implicating murderous mafia members) pleaded guilty on the advice of his lawyer. He was probably hoping for a bit of house arrest and probation, but the judge that day was not in a forgiving kind of mood. Despite his compliance, Caron was sentenced to 5 years and a $1.2 million CAD fine. 

As soon as he heard that, he snapped in anger, demanding to change his plea. He said his lawyer had misled him into admitting his guilt. But the judge invoked the ancient legal rule of “no take-backs”, and Caron became even more furious. He swore at the judge, slammed his fist against the door to his prisoner’s box, and swung at the bailiff who came to restrain him. 

As for the others, Sébastien Jutras — The Driver flipped on his buddies early on, and only served 8 months in prison. Etienne St Pierre — The Fence denied any involvement, saying that he never knew the barrels in his warehouse were stolen. Regardless, he and Raymond Vallières — The Sugar Daddy went down on trafficking and fraud charges, and both got 2 years house arrest followed by 3 on probation.

Ray was due a modest $9,840 to be paid within one year, or he’d go to jail for six months. The fence got the same deal but was required to pay 1.3 million within 15 years, with a five year prison penalty if it went unpaid. Despite the fact that others reportedly collaborated with the crooks along the way, and a total of 26 were arrested, it appears as if these five were the only ones to actually be convicted for the caper.

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Let that be a lesson to the lot of you. The harsh fines and harsher sentences dealt out to the big players in this Canadian crime of the century sent a message to anyone thinking about messing with the supply of Quebec’s sweetest produce in future: 

Don’t fuck with Big Syrup.

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Wrap up

That about wraps things up for today, but one question remains: what happened to the syrup? The Federation had taken a major hit to its reserves, which in reality wasn’t technically owned by the big cartel at all. It really belonged to the producers who were waiting for them to sell it in dry years. And in reality, the stability of the syrup cartel actually suits a lot of those producers fine enough (so long as nobody goes in and steals their shit from the warehouse). Let’s not dwell on that though, it kind of spoils the Hollywood anti-hero story I’m weaving here.

By the time the crime was discovered, the majority of the stolen syrup was long gone. Much of what couldn’t be recovered from the fence’s warehouse was already mixed in with the legitimate supply, maybe even sitting on the shelves of supermarkets. Consumers around the world had no idea they were pouring stolen contraband on their pancakes.

But not all of it was lost; the cops were still able to follow the trail to some of the most recently-stolen barrels. The biggest find was a stock of hundreds of them, waiting in the warehouse of an exporter In New Brunswick. Some more dribs and drabs popped up around that province, and another batch down in Vermont, at a candy-maker’s factory. But even when you take those off the tally, the crime was still the most valuable in Canadian history (adjusted for inflation, it’s closer to $23 million CanadaBucks today, or $18 million real bucks). 

And I also have one last piece of pointless mathematics up my sleeve, if you’re into that kind of thing: the total caloric value of the heist was a stunning 6.8 billion calories of sugar. That’s roughly 80% of the average American family’s weekly intake — truly jaw-dropping stuff.

As for the state of Quebec’s wildest, most glamorous industry today, it’s much the same as when our crooks set out to stick it to the man. According to the National Post in 2018, The sugar rebels have run out of steam Their legal costs and fines are astronomical, forcing them to sell off all their assets and “become an exile in less-regulated Ontario or New Brunswick or the northeastern United States.”

In other words, the evil empire has won. So it’s time we rose up and made our voices heard, in the spirit of the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist. If you too want to resist the oppressive power of the Federation, we can all do our part by going out to our local supermarkets, loading up a trolley with maple syrup, and making a break for it.

Just be sure to shout “Vive le Québec libre!” as you dart out the door.

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